Japanese children becoming a rarety?

Japanese children becoming a rarety?

The number of children aged 14 and under in Japan fell for the 32nd straight year. Child population stands now at a record-low 16.49 million as of April 1, the government said Saturday, reflecting Japan’s crisis when it comes to the continued drop in the country’s birthrate.

The number was down 150,000 from 2012 and the ratio of children in the age group relative to the overall population hit a fresh record-low of 12.9 percent, according to the report by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

The figures were contained in a ministry report released ahead of the Children’s Day national holiday on Sunday, Kyodo news agency reports.

Recent data show that Japan’s population is aging faster than ever, according to a forecast released by the government on March 27. In 30 years by now, more than a third (36 percent) of the population will be over 65, compared with 23 percent in 2010.

The aging population is a trend reflected also in Japan’s baby-food industry, with predictions not showing a bright future for the local baby-food makers. Some of the leading baby-food companies, such as Kewpie, have changed their target and started to sell special soft food for the elderly who cannot chew now as well as they used to.

Among other baby-food makers that changed their plans and jumped into this market are Morinaga Milk Industry Co., House Foods Corp., and Wakodo (owned by Asahi Group Holdings).

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